India, China agree to pause new troop deployment along their disputed border

India and China have agreed to stop deploying more troops along their borders and avoid action that might complicate matters.

Military officials on Monday exchanged ideas on their contested contested Himalayan border in Ladakh, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Tuesday.

A joint press release said both sides had agreed to “avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments”, and “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground”.

During the meeting it was also discussed that neither side should take any unilateral action in the region.

However, the statement did not mention any breakthrough during the talks about the troops’ disengagement.

Prior to the agreement, tensions between the two powers had persisted despite several attempts to find a diplomatic, military and political solution, including repeated negotiations in Moscow this month.

Monday’s military-level talks came less than two weeks after the two nations’ foreign ministers met on September 10 and agreed that their troops should disengage from the tense border standoff, maintain proper distance and ease tensions.

The foreign ministers did not set a timeline for disengagement, nor did Tuesday’s statement mention one.

Last week, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accused China of violating past border agreements and expanding its troop deployments along the undemarcated border.

Singh told parliament that India has informed China through diplomatic channels that its “attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo were in violation of the bilateral agreements”.

The nuclear-armed Asian neighbours share a 3,500km (2,100-mile) unmarked border through the Himalayas, where an uneasy peace has held since the two countries signed a truce following a war in 1962.

The world’s two most populous nations have been locked in a border dispute since April when rival soldiers engaged in skirmishes at several points on their mountain border.

On June 15, the border peace was broken following deadly clashes in Galwan Valley in India’s Ladakh region. At least 20 Indian soldiers died in pitched hand-to-hand combat.

Since then, thousands of soldiers have been deployed on both sides of the de facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), with experts concerned tensions might lead to an unintentional war.

India’s military has activated its entire logistics network to transport vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food to thousands of troops in Ladakh ahead of a harsh winter, officials said.